Federal Judge Orders Georgia to Review Thousands of Provisional Ballots

The ruling found “substantial likelihood” that Brian Kemp failed to maintain a “reliable and secure” registration system.

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A federal judge on Monday ordered officials in Georgia to review thousands of provisional ballots that have not been counted, citing the “substantial likelihood” that Republican candidate Brian Kemp, who until last week was Georgia’s Secretary of State and therefore oversaw election rules in the state, had failed to “properly maintain a reliable and secure voter registration system.”

Judge Amy Totenberg’s ruling delays Georgia from certifying its election results until Friday. It also called for the Secretary of State’s office to immediately establish a voter registration hotline to assist voters in determining whether their provisional ballots were accounted for.

Listen to MoJo’s voting rights reporter Ari Berman explain what’s next in Georgia’s nail-biting race for Governor, on this week’s episode of the Mother Jones Podcast:

The development comes as a major victory for Democratic gubernatorial candidate Stacey Abrams, who needs at least 20,000 more votes to force a runoff against Kemp. It’s estimated that nearly 27,000 provisional ballots were cast in the razor-thin election for governor. The lawsuit was filed by Common Cause Georgia, a non-partisan group that works to ensure fair voting practices. 

“Today’s ruling is a victory for the voters of Georgia. We are all stronger when every eligible voter is allowed to participate in our elections,” Sara Henderson, executive director of Common Cause Georgia, said in a statement. “This victory helps achieve greater voter confidence in our elections.”

You can read Totenberg’s ruling in full below:

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Which is also a pretty great way to describe Mother Jones' mission: People coming together around the truth to hold power accountable.

And right now, we need to raise about $400,000 from our online readers over the next two months to hit our annual goal and make good on that mission. Read more about the information war we find ourselves in and how people-powered, independent reporting can and must rise to the challenge—and please support our team's truth-telling journalism with a donation if you can right now.

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